This time of year on the U.S. West Coast evokes a palpable sense of what I call SSD: Surfer’s Springtime Depression.
For most surfers here, winter is much too short of a season. Already we’ve passed the vernal equinox, clocks have leaped an hour, winter groundswells have dwindled, and onshore winds threaten to howl for days on end, wrecking whatever swells we get, meanwhile causing a frigid bout of upwelling, cooling the ocean water temperature considerably. There might be some early south swells, sure, but they don’t help much.
If you don’t dig fog, flatness, and tourist masses, California and Pacific Northwest summers can be excruciating, and after the hazy days from June to September, autumn is a much-anticipated harbinger of great waves to come. But spring? Indeed, despite its “surf flaws, yes, spring is lovely.
Today, as April unfolds, there are good reasons to combat SSD and embrace the current growth and renewal of life — for a short while, the hills are verdant, wildflowers burst with color, birds sing beautifully, and the sky is a deep, crisp, brilliant blue.
Strong spring winds offshore often bless our beaches with consistent windswell, a valuable ally as memories of winter fade quickly and the doldrums of summer approach even quicker. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had countless good sessions in peaky springtime beachbreak, the windswells often lasting into June.So let’s rejoice in these pretty, transitional weeks on the heels of winter, because the sooner summer comes, the sooner winter returns.
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